Lost and Found Chapter 4: Struggles with Love
For those reading this you may already know: I have been releasing a year long project, Lost & Found, based upon lessons I've learned throughout 2016. Each song is coupled with a blog post to further explain my experiences that inspire the lyrics. This post is expanding upon my latest track, Never Enough. Its subject matter: love.
I'll be honest, this particular post has proved to be the most challenging to write thus far. I have come back to it a million times, trying to decide exactly how to put into words my experiences dealing with dating and love. Sadly, dating is not my strong suit. Never has been. Never Enough was written about two people in love. They are best friends, they have each other's backs, they uplift each other, etc.
Never Enough is the one song on the project that's subject matter I have not experienced first hand. It sounds somewhat sad to say aloud, to read aloud as I am typing this; yet I am not bitter. I firmly believe that when we have a goal, we do not receive it until we are ready. Subsequently, if the goal happens to be love as with anything worth having in life, it will take time and effort. Yet I do not believe we eventually find love. I believe love eventually finds us. I think this happens once we have taken the time to love ourselves (MAJOR KEY).
In my own life, a lot of scenarios wore the mask of love but were not the real thing. This is no one's fault. I write none of this to play the victim. We all do the best we can with the emotional resources we have available to us at the time. It has not been until the last two years or less that I've truly taken the time to love myself. So many of scenarios I've engaged in and have witnessed are based upon things that love does not embody.
The first imposter is dependency on someone else for happiness. I would look to others to fill the void in my life. I would look to others to make me feel happy because I was unwilling to take the time to love myself. Our happiness is no one's responsibility other than our own. When we search to find our happiness externally, we put unrealistic expectations and demands on people. We are viewing situations behind a shattered lens; a lens not of love but of desperation. When we do not take the time to discover what genuinely makes us happy for ourselves, we settle for much less than we deserve because we simply have no clue that we TRULY deserve more.
When our love of self is not present, we cannot act with emotional clarity. We move within a space of pain; a space of fear. We then make decisions motivated by this fear and not by love. When related to love I think we mainly have a fear of being alone. Erykah Badu (love her) said that fear and love cannot reside in the same space. I do not think fear ever goes away fully in any arena. I think when we have true love of self we realize that navigating through that fear is worth the risk because the reward is so great. We have to sacrifice momentary uncertainty and take a chance. We have to run the risk of failure in order to achieve. There is absolutely no way around this.
Personally, I have never been afraid to be alone. I do not really get lonely. Frankly, it's possible that I have become so used to being by myself that I simply do not notice it anymore. I am grateful for the love of my family and friends; I have told myself numerous times that their love is enough for now. I do not notice my romantic solitude until I come across someone that sparks my interest. Then I just start floundering miserably! I think a lot of the dating advice we get these days is all ego driven. Don't text first, don't be too pressed, make him/her do this, he/she's going to do this, blah blah effing blah! All of these silly things are just ways to protect our ego. And whoever cracks first has the least control right? This is complete bullshit.
If Erykah Badu meant fear as in ego, then that's the realest statement ever spoken. If I may expand upon her wise words, EGO and LOVE cannot reside in the same space. We live in an age where we are incredibly entitled (all ego). Communication (I guess we can call it that) is so accessible that we feel we are owed everything. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, texts, etc. People are perceived to be attached to their phones. So we expect a response and conversation exactly when we want it. How egotistical is that? No regard for whether the other person is busy, going through something, or just not in a chatty mood. How spoiled is it to just assume that we become a priority in someone's life immediately, as if their life was not already moving before we popped on the scene?
I found this so draining and daunting I honestly just stopped trying for awhile. Why do I have to follow some ridiculous rules? Why does it have to be this difficult? It's difficult because our egos make it difficult. Ego says you are owed exactly what you want when you want it. This is childish, unrealistic and not soil from which love can blossom. What happened to just being one's self? Look....I just want to be the best version of me and I'll attract someone that is the same. I JUST WANT TO BE MYSELF DAMNIT. I do not think it's more difficult than that. We have to get this idea out of our heads of what love is "supposed" to be. I highly doubt counting dates, text messages and Instagram likes is the equation to true companionship (God... is this what we've become lol).
I can only speak for myself. Everyone has different needs. Yet I do believe one thing we all need is empathy. This is where all these silly rules really irritate me. At what point do we take a moment to factor in what someone else may be feeling? Like I stated earlier, we act in the best way we know how with the emotional tools we have. Rather than assuming one thing or the other about someone, why do not we not try to understand that person? That's where that little monster called ego comes into play.
Ego avoids potential rejection at all costs. It cannot bare to feel undesired. It runs at the first sign of discomfort and uncertainty. It's fear in its true form! I'm a Leo; we are notoriously known for our egos and I will say firsthand that harnessing my ego has been the hardest thing I've done in my life! It's affected my communication skills, my perception of how love should be. If I was not being instantly gratified in a way that stroked my ego (soothed my fear), to hell with that person! Let me tell you life humbled me. Boy, did it humble me. Several times until it clicked for me. Life will keep sending you the same lesson until you learn.
Hence the reason why I am not bitter. I've been sent tests. I've learned lessons. I am grateful for the growth. I've learned that love will never be all about ME ME ME. No matter what is fed to us in these memes on IG; love is we. You cannot have a "we" with a "me" mentality. Period. Love is deeper than the amount of dates, how much money is spent, how many texts you receive and all the silly things that do not amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. Love is not a battle of wills; it's a surrender. Love is a sacrifice of ego by way of vulnerability. How can we use such minuscule things to measure such a deep emotion? It makes absolutely ZERO sense. To say it aloud really sounds insane!
Real love begins with love of self. They say God or the Universe is Love. Not to get biblical, but God is believed to reside in our souls. So if we do not take the time to get to know the love that we were created to embody, we will forever flounder. In essence we are seeking something we already have and it's been buried by past experiences, hurt, ego, unrealistic expectations. When we run from ourselves, when we are seek distractions to fill our voids, we are running away from our true form. Our true form being love. Furthermore, like attracts like. So when we are hurting we are attracting that same hurt. I had to realize I needed to stop making fear based, flighty decisions and decide to own my future and not remain a prisoner of my past. Avoiding taking the time to love myself was not going to get me any closer to it.
I refer to my parents when I need a reminder. They met during humble times in both their lives. They met young, before they were tainted by too many painful dating experiences. My Dad was not rich but was and is an amazing man; my Mom was and is drop dead gorgeous and she told me if she would've given up on him I may not have been here. He did the best with what he had and she loved him for it. He accepted her as she was, and was not afraid to be vulnerable. She did the same for him.
They've had their hurdles. They are an interracial couple. That has had it's own set of challenges. My mother was at Howard University and my father went to the navy for FOUR years. They still remained strong(before cell phones). Money highs, money lows and everything in between. Through it all, they believe in each other and they have both thrived. They have been married for almost 40 years and have five children. I realize they came up in a different era, but what matters most really resonated then. Your word, loyalty, sacrifice, humility, vulnerability, empathy. They had to have all of these things to make it. And they have made it. They are what we call #relationshipgoals.
Nothing has changed. Look, I'm still single so clearly I have not mastered this area of my life. Yet this is what I've learned and I humbly share it with you all in hopes that if anyone else is feeling lost, they can find comfort in knowing we all deal with these same issues. We have to stop chasing situations that are not for us thinking our happiness can be found there. We have to stop settling because we think our ship has sailed. We cannot move in love trapped by the stagnancy of fear, but in freedom of courage. We MUST let go of our egos; IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE EASY AND CONVENIENT. And certain things STILL matter most. Above all, love of self. Integrity, loyalty, sacrifice, humility, vulnerability and empathy. Being yourself and allowing someone else to do the same. These things are the yardstick to be used when measuring love. Nothing else.
When I wrote Never Enough, it became my illustration of how I envisioned true love to be. Sending you all love today.